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An Oxford institution, this. No one fails to warm to the well-run restaurant/bar combo occupying a late-Victorian working boathouse, with wide windows overlooking the river Cherwell and a sought-after decked terrace for fine days. If you can take your eyes off the punts passing by, it’s worth navigating your way through a fresh modern menu overlaid with British and French influences – perhaps a timbale of confit duck with Madeira jelly, orange and port vinaigrette or baby artichoke with pea mousse, feta and tomato dressing ahead of rib-eye steak with triple-cooked chips, hake fillet with lemon crushed potatoes and crayfish cream or roast rump of lamb with aubergine caviar, garlic courgettes and sauce vierge. For afters, consider chocolate nemesis or olive oil and pistachio cake with yoghurt sorbet. The magnificent wine list is stuffed full of vinous treasures, from top-class French vintages to cheeky little New World numbers – all perfectly matched to complement the cooking.
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